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than by committing the word of God to writing. 2 Pet. iii. 1, This second epistle I write unto you by way of rémembrance. 2. That the gospel made known in the
word might the better be propagated in several nations. 1. Reports of others would not so easily have been believed,
as the writings of the prophets and apostles themselves, unto whom the word was revealed. 3. That there might be in the church a standing rule of faith and life according to which all doctrines might be examined, and all actions might be ordered; and by consequence, that corrupt principles, and corrupt practices might be prevented, which the minds and hearts of men are prone unto, and would have the more seeming pretence for, were there not express scripture against both. Isa. viii. 30, To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to his word, it is because there is no light in them.
Q. 4. Which are the scriptures of the old testament, and which are the scriptures of the new ?
A. The scriptures of the old testament are the scriptures in the former part of the bible, beginning at Genesis, and ending with Malichi. The scriptures of the new testan:ent, are the scriptures in the latter part of the bible, beginning at Matthew, and ending with the Revelation.
Q. 5. Why are the scriptures in the former part of the bible called the scriptures of the old testament? .
A. Because the testament and covenant of grace which God made with man, is therein revealed in the old dispensation of it, in which Christ the' testator of the testament, and mediator of the covenant, is set forth by types and figures, and many burdensome services, and carnal ordinances of the ceremonial law were required.
Q. 6. Why are the scriptures in the latter part of the bible called the scriptures of the new testament?
A. Because the testament of God or covenant of grace, is therein revealed in the new dispensation of it, without types and figures. Christ himself being revealed as come in the flesh, who before was shadowed under them, who having fulfilled the ceremonial law, hath abolished it,
and freed his people from the yoke and bondage, require ing now more spiritual worship in its room.'
Q. 7. Are not the scriptures in the Apocryphal books the word of God?
A. Though there be many true and good things in these books which may be read profitably, as in other authors, yet they are not to be esteemed as canonical scripture, and part of the word of God. 1. Because they were not written in the Hebrew tongue, nor acknowledged as canonical by the Jews of old, unto whom the keeping of the oracles of God was then committed. 2. Because in these books there are some things false, and disagreeable to the word of God. 3. Because there is not that power and majesty in those books as in canonical scripture. 4. Because the author of Ecclesiasticus (the choicest of all the apocryphal books) doth crave pardon, if any thing be amiss in that book; which he would not have done, had he been guided by the infallible spirit of God therein. - Q. 8. Have not the scriptures their authority from
the church, as the Papists affirm ? · A. No, 1. Because the church, on whose testimony they say, the scriptures do depend, is an apostate and corrupt church, and the seat of Antichrist. '. 2. Because the true church of Christ doth depend in its being on the scriptures; and therefore the scriptures cannot depend upon the church for its authority. Eph. ii. 19, 20, Ye are fellow citizens of the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. 3. Because if the authority of the scriptures did depend upon the church, then the church in itself, without the scriptures, must bei nfallible; otherwise our faith in the scriptures from their witness, could not be certain ; but the church in itself without the scriptures, is not infallible. - Q. 9. Why are the scriptures called the rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy God?
A. Because all doctrines which we are bound to believe, must be measured or judged of; all duties which
we are bound to practice, as means in order to the attainment of this chief end of man, must be squared or conformed onto this rule. Gal. vi. 16, As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them.
Q. 10. Why are the scriptures called the only rule?
A. Because the scripture, and nothing else, are sufficient to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy God.
Q. 11. Is not natural reason, without the light of the scriptures, sufficient to direct us ? :
A. I. Indeed natural reason may, from the natural impressions of a deity upon the mind, and the evidences of a deity in the works of creation and providence, shew that there is a God, and that this God is infinite in his being, and power, and wisdom, and goodness; and that he is to be glorified and worshipped by his creatures.
2. But natural reason cannot fully and savingly shew what God is. 1. It cannot reveal his love and mercy to sinners in his son. 2.. It cannot reveal how he should be glorified and worshipped. 3. It cannot direct us how we should enjoy him either here or hereafter.
Q. 12. Are not the unwritten traditions of the church of Rome to be made use of as a rule for our direction ; especially since the apostle exhorteth the Thessalonians, 2 Thess. ii. 15, To hold fast the traditions which they had been taught, not only by writing but also by word of mouth; and many of the traditions of the church of Rome, are pretended to be apostolical?
A. The unwritten traditions of the church of Rome are not to be made use of as a rule for our direction. 1. Because no unwritten traditions could be conveyed down from the apostles' times unto ours by word of mouth, without danger of mistake and corruption; and therefore we cannot be certain, that their traditions, which they call apostolical, are not corrupted; as we must be, if we use - them as our rule. 2. Because we have reason to think the church of Rome being so much corrupted, that their traditions are corrupted too; especially when historians tell us of the general corruptions, ignorance and viciousa ness of some generations in their church, namely, in the ninth and tenth centuries, and afterwards ; through
which sink of times, we cannot rationally expect to receive pure traditions. 3. Because several of their traditions are contrary to the express word of God, like those of the elders among the Pharisees, which our Saviour doth condemn, together with all human impositions. Matth. xv. 6, 9, Ye have made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the com- : mandments of men. 4. Because, however, the Thessalonians were bound to hold fast some unwritten traditions for a while, because the history of Christ, and much of the gospel, they had for the present only from the mouths and testimony of the apostles; yet afterwards the whole history of Christ, and whatever was necessary to be known and believed, and practised in order to salva. tion, was committed to writings in the books of the new testament, both for the sake of the present and future generations of the church, that so the gospel might not be corrupted by unwritten traditions; therefore all unwritten traditions are to be rejected.
R. 13. Is not the light within men, and the spirit of God without the scriptures (which quakers and enthusiasts pretend unto) to be made use of as a rule for our di. rection? A. The light which is in '
men, without the scripture, is not to be used for our rule. l. Because whatever light any pretend unto without the word, is but darkness, in which whosoever walketh, he must needs stumble and fall into the ditch. Isa. viii. 20, To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
2. Whatever spirit any have, which leadeth them against, or besides the rule of the scriptures, it is not the spirit of God, and of truth, but a spirit of error and delusion. The scripture telleth us plainly, that such as hear not the apostles speaking in the word, are acted by an erroneous spirit. John iv. 1, 6, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the work. We are of God, he that knoweth God, heareth
us; he that is not of God, heareth us not ; hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error..
Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The scriptures principally teach, what man is lo believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man.
Q. 1. What is it to believe ?
A. To believe, is to assent or give credit to truths, because of the authority of another.
Q. 2. What is it to believe what the scriptures teach?
A. To believe that which the scriptures teach, is to assent or give credit to the truth thereof because of the authority of God, whose word the scriptures are ; this is divine faith.
Q. 3. What is implied in the things concerning God, which the scriptures teach?
A. In the things concerning God, which the scriptures teach, is implied all points of faith, as it is divine.
Q. 4. Are Christians to believe nothing as a point of faith, but what the scriptures teach?
A. No. Because no other book of the world is divine authority but the scriptures, and therefore not absolutely infallible.
Q. 5. What is meant by the duty which God requireth of man?
A. By the du'y which God requireth of man, we are to understand that which is God's due, or that which we owe to God, and are bound to do, a's we are creatures, and subjects, and children.
Q. 6. Are we bound to nothing in point of practice, but what is required in the scriptures?
A. No. Because the laws and commandments of God in the scriptures are so exceeding large and extensive, that they reach both the inward and outward man, and whole conversation ; so that nothing is lawful for us to do, except it be directly or consequentially prescribed in the word.